The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR, NR1I3) is extremely important for the regulation of many physiological processes, especially xenobiotic (drug) metabolism and transporters. CAR differs from steroid hormone receptors in that it can be activated using structurally unrelated chemicals, both through direct ligand-binding and ligand-independent (indirect) mechanisms. By binding to specific responsive elements on DNA, CAR increases the expression of its target genes encoding drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters. Therefore, CAR is mainly characterized as a ligand-dependent or ligand-independent transcription factor, and the induction of gene expression is considered the canonical mode of CAR action. Consistent with its central role in xenobiotic metabolism, CAR signaling includes a collection of mechanisms that are employed alongside the core transcriptional machinery of the receptor. These so-called noncanonical CAR pathways allow the receptor to coordinate the regulation of many aspects of cell biology. In this mini-review, we review noncanonical CAR signaling, paying special attention to the role of CAR in energy homeostasis and cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6735
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2020


  • CAR
  • Cell proliferation
  • Energy homeostasis
  • Gene regulation
  • Noncanonical signaling


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